‘Bows lose Brashears, add three pitchers

As Tyler Brashears prepares to follow two fellow Rainbow Warrior pitchers into professional baseball, UH coach Mike Trapasso continues with the work of replenishing the staff.

After earning All-Big West first-team honors in his lone season in Manoa, Brashears agreed to terms with the Tampa Bay Rays ahead of Friday’s deadline. Brashears, a 14-round pick in last month’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, joins LJ Brewster (Miami Marlins) and Quintin Torres-Costa (Milwaukee Brewers) in departing for the pros with at least a year left on their college eligibility clock.

Trapasso wished Brashears well in pursuing pro ball while acknowledging the right-hander’s decision leaves a hole in the rotation and “we’ll be missing him on some Friday nights.”

“But that’s why you recruit,” Trapasso said in a phone interview while on a recruiting trip on the mainland.

The coaching staff’s efforts this summer have so far netted the announcement of three pitching signees from California for next season.

The Rainbows will add junior-college transfer Kyle Mitchell and freshman left-handers Troy Stainbrook and Daniel Rocha to the roster in the fall, according to a release issued by UH Friday afternoon.

According to the release, Mitchell, a right hander, went 5-5 with a 1.95 ERA as a freshman at Santa Rosa Junior College then posted a 3.41 ERA while going 5-2 this season. He struck out 47 in 58 innings.

Rocha is a potential dual threat coming out of Narbonne High School. He went 9-2 with a save and while posting a 0.80 ERA with 103 strikeouts in 70 innings as a senior. He also hit .434 with six home runs and 29 RBIs.

“Danny is a tremendous competitor. He’s a lefty with a mid-to-high 80’s fastball with great feel,” Trapasso said in the release. “He also has a solid left-handed swing that makes him a possible two-way guy.”

Stainbrook is an intriguing prospect at 6-foot-7 and 220 pounds. He was an all-league pick as a senior at Golden West High School in Visalia, Calif., after striking out 78 in just under 50 innings. According to a story in the Visalia Times Delta, Stainbrook posted a 2.71 ERA in his four-year varsity career with 229 strikeouts in 167 2/3 innings.

“Troy starts with what you can’t teach, coming in at 6-7. On top of that, he has tremendous stuff and is capable of being a front line guy,” Trapasso said in the UH release.

They’ll join a UH staff that lost the three draftees along with seniors Jarrett Arakawa and Andrew Jones. With Brashears going all the way to the deadline before agreeing to terms with the Rays, the Rainbows held his scholarship deep into the summer just in case he decided to return.

“With Tyler’s situation, while it’s not ideal, it’s never a surprise when you’re dealing with the draft. So you have to almost expect it and be prepared for it,” Trapasso said on Friday.

“It’s never ideal when you get to this late date because you’re holding that scholarship in hopes he’ll come back and when he doesn’t you’ve obviously got some scholarship money available,” Trapasso said. “But you’ve also gone pretty much the whole summer and a lot of other guys just couldn’t wait so they would sign elsewhere. But that’s the nature of the beast. … It’s the model we work within so you just have to deal with it.

“We’ll wish Tyler well, we’re disappointed he’s leaving but we’re happy for him and happy for our program, because it’s another pitcher that signs out of our program that wasn’t drafted out of high school.

“It’s a feather in his cap, it’s a feather in our cap and now we just have to recruit the next guy and hope he comes in and does as well as Tyler did this year.”